Week Nine: Life in Sun Valley (aka DOG Valley)...Crazy Shooters, Burning Weeds, and Sharing the Gospel

November 17, 2014
Hello everyone!!

Service project...burning the weeds
Everything is great here. I am having a blast. This was another fun week. On Tuesday my companion and I had the chance to do some service for the Familia Lida!! They are a great family that is moving into the area.  We were able to help them tear out all of the dried tumbleweeds and sagebrush in their backyard and then we made a big fire and burned it all. It was a lot of fun. We came across them one day when we were biking around the valley, and asked if they needed help. They said yes, so we did some service right there for them, but told them we could come back another day, wearing clothes that were a little better for service. So on Tuesday went back and spent some time with them. They are super nice, and we have been able to slowly teach them small things. They are Christian, so we have been praying and fasted yesterday so that we can teach them more. They have 4 kids, ages like 16, 14, 11 and 8 - so a lot like our family!!   Please keep them in your prayers.

Sun Valley should be called "Dog Valley"
because of all the dogs.
(And chickens too!  Here's a chicken - just chillin')
I think that if i could i would rename Sun Valley to Dog Valley. Every house has like 15,434 dogs…it’s ridiculous. Like the other day we go to visit an address that was a referral and outside they have 4 dogs chained up and stuff, and we maneuvered our way around them and then we knocked on the door and from inside we heard like 3 more dogs come running up to the door...Rivera and I just shook our heads and laughed cuz of how outrageous it is. And then there will be dogs just chillin everywhere, like in the streets and everywhere. And another thing about Sun Valley is that it is DARK at night. There are like NO street lights and rarely do people have lights on the front of their house, so it can be scary at times. The other night we pulled up to a house for an appointment, and Rivera hopped out of the car, and this dog bolted out of nowhere and started barking and stuff, and so Rivera instinctively jumped on the hood of our car. I was still in the car so I was just laughing and laughing. I got a kick out of that, cuz he’s scared of dogs. 

This is only like a tenth of the police cars
and SWAT vans on my street for the crazy shooter...
One interesting thing that happened this week was we were studying and our roommates left for the day, but we were still studying and like 10 minutes after they left they called us and were like "Yo! You guys gotta come outside!!" and so we darted outside and just like 100 yards down our street were about 20 cop cars and armored SWAT vans and news crews and the whole works and they blocked a road off, so we went up to the cop and asked him if we could go through the road block, or if we needed to go around, and he was like "well if you go that way, then you will be shot by a mental man with a deer rifle." so that answered our question. But apparently some crazy guy was threating to go kill everyone or something, so his neighbor called 911. But no worries, I wasn’t shot…and neither was my companion.

Sal Verduzco (left) is the ward mission leader
and Isaac Zurito is his friend and roommate -
they are awesome to us
So a little bit more about Issac Zurito and his roommate, Sal Verduzco. These two guys are like my favorite people in the world. Verduzco is the Ward Mission Leader for the Rama Vista, which i served in for one week. But the thing is he actually lives in the boundaries for my little group, but he has been going to the Rama Vista (Vista Branch) for like 8 years, so he hasn’t switched over. But then just last week the stake president issued an announcement that everyone has to go to their respective wards, so now he is going to come to our little branch. But this has caused a lot of drama because nobody in the Rama Vista wants him to leave. He is basically like the branch president, because overall the leadership in the Rama is not too great, so everyone goes to him for support and help. We will see what happens. But he is a great example of consecrating himself to the Lord because he works until 5 everyday, but then as soon as he gets off he calls us missionaries and asks where he can meet us to take us to lessons and dinners if we don’t have any and pretty much be our father. He is so great. He is hilarious too. He reminds me of Grandpa, just his humor. And he doesn’t speak much English so he always asks me how to say things in English – which is fun. His roommate, Issac, I don’t know as well, but he is basically the same thing. He is always taking us out to eat and this man is all about his style. He refuses to wear a tie more than once so he always gives us free ties because he just loves shopping and buying ties, so after he wears them once then he gives them away. His closet is crazy amazing, he has at least over 500 ties, like every color and shape and design you can think of. He also gave me a new watch that is way too fancy for me for free. But they are both awesome. They already invited me to come to their house for Christmas, so I think that is what we will do.

So we have our feet on the ground here in Sun Valley, and are finding tons of people to teach. The only problem with the Hispanic people here is that they are flakier than freakin frosted flakes. I would say that like 95% of the people we talk to readily agree to have us come back, and we set up an appointment. But then i would say like 30% of those appointments actually go through. So that can get frustrating sometimes, but oh well. The people that have lots of potential and have actually shown some real deep interest include the Familia Lida, Juan Gonzalez, Hector and Crista and their family, Veronica and her family, and Mickey Sotelo. If you could keep them in your prayers, that would be great. Mickey has been an investigator for a few months, and we would drop him except he came to church yesterday for like the first time in a few months so we are going to follow up on him and see what the deal is. Also keep Alma Lopez in your prayers.  She is a recent convert who has gone inactive who we are trying to bring back to church.

Well that about sums up my week so far.  I know that this church is true. Don’t be afraid to share the knowledge we have about it with everyone. I know we will be blessed if we do.

Elder Todd

We got the "Greenie" package that my family sent
My comp and I and a younger "mini missionary"
that we had with us for the day
All the crap we burned
My goofy roommate...I tried to convince him to
go out and do missionary work dressed like that.
(He was waiting for his clothes to dry!)

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